School Committee Meeting Update
By Erica Plunkett, Chair Holliston School Committee
Celebrations opened the meeting, with kudos to the cast and crew of Humans, who will be moving on to the State Finals the weekend of March 22 in Boston, with Mr. Hickey. Also, congratulations to the five Destination Imagination Teams (Holliston sent twelve teams in total to Regionals), also moving on to the State Tournament level, March 31, in Worcester. The Regional Chemistry Olympiad was held recently in Westborough and two HHS students placed in the top ten. The Holliston Pops Concert is this weekend, and open to the public, as well, there are some upcoming fundraisers for the Miller School playground. THE PTSA is sponsoring a Parent Education Forum next week on Ben Speaks, to stomp out the growing trends of depression, bullying, and teen suicide. And, tickets are now available for the PTSA Spring Fling. Only 200 reservations are open, so get your tickets now. Please check the District website for all happenings~ spring is a busy time of year! Please note my correction from two weeks ago, that Placentino students also participated in the Miller Jump for the Playground, which raised $40,000.
Dr. Jackson informed the Committee that the update on BYOD will be shared at the second meeting in April. Dr. Ahern and Mr. Cournoyer are working on baseline measures for success. It is their intention that these criteria will be used as goals going forward, as BYOD becomes more firmly embedded in curriculum and instruction. In the meantime, the second phase of professional development has begun, and product training is being extended to students (during DSB or afterschool), when they can get some practice in platforms like Evernote, and the Google suite of applications used in education. Please stay tuned for more information on BYOD.
First on the agenda, Julie Doonan of the Holliston Education Foundation (HEF) introduced their grant recipients. Lisa Bynoe, High School Art teacher, gave a brief presentation on E Portfolios, which her students are now developing; and, Erin Fleischer, Lianna Ramage, and Susan Williams, elementary Special Education teachers, gave a brief presentation on the conference they attended, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. From this conference, they have put together resource materials, conducted some professional development for their colleagues, and started a blog, soon to be available through the Placentino/Miller websites. The School Committee is extremely grateful to HEF for their support of the teachers and staff of the Holliston Public Schools.
Dr. Ahern then gave a very brief preview of Friday’s Professional Day, much of which will focus on incorporating the Common Core Standards into the curriculum. Placentino staff will expand this learning into ELA, and Miller will focus on Mathematics. At the Adams school, teachers will focus on differentiation in instruction and assessment; and, at the High School, the morning will begin with a session on BYOD and assessment and the afternoon will revolve around the ongoing NEASC accreditation work.
Central to the meeting was discussion around the FY13 budget. The Budget Sub Committee and Superintendent Jackson have completed the review of the proposed FY13 budget and made the recommendations below to the entire Committee. Specifically, the Budget Sub Committee recommends two separate actions:
1. The School Committee vote to request that Town Meeting allocate, from a funding source outside of the school budget, the amount of $236,000 for the emergency replacement of the gym floor at the Adams Middle School and,
2. The School Committee vote to establish its FY13 Budget for the Holliston Public Schools at $29,038,815 (details below). Both these actions were taken after presentation and discussion.
Dr. Jackson reminded the Committee that the Finance Committee asked for a preliminary review of the budget drivers in December (which the School Committee and Superintendent provided and which was estimated at a 4.94% increase), as they looked for information to establish their guideline. It was the Committee’s hope that the Finance Committee would use this information, but found that the Fin Com chose a flat allocation across all Town Departments.
Additionally, Dr. Jackson noted that the $512K for out-of-District placements was to support five Special Needs students with significant needs. Three are multi-handicapped moving from in-District to out-of-District residential placements at $125K each. One student, also multi-handicapped, is being placed in a comprehensive day placement at $70K, and the last student requires one-to-one medical care, also at $70K.
Budget Sub Committee Chair, Tom Jones, further defined the increase of 5.01% in the FY13 Budget as a 1.5% increase over last year, for a level service budget. Level-service budgets typically run at 3-4% increases, but the District has made excellent progress in utility savings, and payroll efficiencies, with the schools having cut personnel at a much higher percentage than any other town department ( while the fee burden on parents has also substantially increased in the same time frame). Another .5% of the budget increase is to cover the two remaining recommended Budget Adjustments (the HS Athletic Director and a BASIS teacher at the HS- to place these students out-of-District would cost $180K, vs.$61K for an in-District teacher; further, with the fee parents are paying for athletics, they are not receiving an appropriate or adequate level of service). The last remaining 3% of the FY13 increase is to cover two one-time anomalies/timing issues. The first is the $512K in Out-of-District placements (noted above) and the other is the $435K in Ed Jobs funds, no longer available. It was mandated that this money be spent in specific ways, to retain positions and instructional-related costs. It was meant as a temporary stop gap measure and was not able to be “banked” for a later time frame.
The discussion around the gym floor , it is the Committee’s opinion that this is a one-time expense for a community resource . much like a cruiser or a fire truck. Due to the timing of this issue, namely that the work must be done over the summer (the remediation of the asbestos) in order to be ready for September, the Committee is bringing this to spring Town Meeting, and not next Fall, typically where capital expenses are addressed.
(The FY13 Budget Development history in detail, as well as the final recommendations, can be found on the website: www.holliston.k12.ma.us), but here is the summary:
Budget Driver Amount % Driver
Payroll (Steps/Lanes/COLA) $726.1K 2.64
Regular Transportation $75K 0.27
Utilities (-$19.3K) -0.07
NEASC and Accreditation Costs $0 0
Miscellaneous Changes (-$4.2K) -0.02
Norfolk Aggie Tuitions (-$42.8K) -0.16
Additonal Local Revenue (-$59.7K) -0.22
Contracted Services- Cleaners (-109K) -0.4
FY12 Circuit Breaker Receipts over estimate (-$136K) -0.49
Sub Total: $429,762 1.56%
Budget Driver Amount % Driver
Out of District Placements 512.5K 1.86
FY12 Ed Jobs revenue no longer available 435.4K 1.58
Sub Total: $947,999 3.44%
Grand Total Budget Drivers: $ 1,377,761.00 5.01%
Comprehensive study of Counseling Services and Staffing Patterns (PreK-12) $ -
HHS- Strengthen Department Leader Job Description $ -
HHS- Additional Paraprofessional- Network Program $ -
HHS- Full-Time Athletic Director $75K
Grades 1-6 Tier II Mathematics Intervention Teacher $ -
Adams- Wireless Internet $ -
Miller- Grade 3 Teacher $ -
Miller- Technology- Classroom Mimeos/Projection Units $ -
Miller- Student Leadership Team Advisors $ -
Placentino- Paraprofessional Support for Integrated PreK $ -
Placentino- 1.0 FTE ESL Teacher $ -
Placentino- Classroom Technology- nComputing Devices $ -
HHS- 1.0 FTE SPED Teacher- Basis Program $61K
HHS- Refit Network Classroom $ -
Adams- Gym Floor one-time request
District- Cafeteria POS system: $ -
District- Prepare for new Educator Evaluation System: $ -
District- Atlas Rubicon Licenses K-5: $ -
Budget Adjustments: $ 136,000.00
FY12 Town Meeting Approved Budget: $27,525,054.00
Budget Drivers: $1,377,761.00
Budget Adjustments (formerly New Initiatives): $136,000.00
FY13 Recommended Budget: $29,038,815.00
Increase $: $1,513,761.00
Increase %: 5.50%
Next Steps in the FY13 Budget process:
-March 20- School Committee presentation of voted FY13 Budget to the Finance Committee. This is a public meeting and anyone is welcome to attend ( 7:30 pm at Town Hall).
-April 5- Public Hearing on FY13 Budget
-April 26- Budget Discussion, if needed
-May 7- Annual Town Meeting- Please make a note on your calendars NOW. Parents of school-age children must be represented at Town Meeting.
The last item on the agenda was the calendar for the Superintendent’s review. This will be the last year for this particular evaluation tool as the new Educator Evaluation system will require changes. The Superintendent will receive his review at the May 2 meeting.
The next School Committee meeting is April 5. Central to the agenda will be the Public Hearing on the FY13 Budget. As well, Dr. Jackson will make his presentation on the progress on the Strategic Plan. The next School Committee Office Hours are April 12 from 8-9:30 am at Pejamajo. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Central Office or any member of the School Committee.
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